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Taxation and Excess Burden: A Life-Cycle Perspective

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  • E. John Driffill
  • Harvey S. Rosen

Abstract

A lifetime perspective is appropriate in assessing the welfare implications of government tax policies. Although a number of attempts have been made to ex- amine the excess burden of taxation in life-cycle models, these have tended to ignore the role of human capital accumulation and/or the leisure-income choice. In this paper, we do numerical simulations with a model that takes both of these phenomena into account. We find that under reasonable assumptions, the failure to take into account distortions of human capital decisions produces substantial underestimates of the excess burden of income taxation. In addition, allowing for the endogeneity of human capital increases the efficiency of a personal consumption tax relative to that of an equal yield income tax.

Suggested Citation

  • E. John Driffill & Harvey S. Rosen, 1981. "Taxation and Excess Burden: A Life-Cycle Perspective," NBER Working Papers 0698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0698
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harvey S. Rosen, 1978. "The Measurement of Excess Burden with Explicit Utility Functions," NBER Chapters,in: Research in Taxation, pages 121-135 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. Haley, William J, 1976. "Estimation of the Earnings Profile from Optimal Human Capital Accumulation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1223-1238, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berthold U. Wigger, 2004. "On the Intergenerational Incidence of Wage and Consumption Taxes," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 1-23, February.
    2. Cruz Echevarria & Amaia Iza, 2000. "Income Taxation and Finite Horizons in a Human Capital Model," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 7(6), pages 665-689, December.
    3. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Jacobs, Bas, 2005. "Redistribution and education subsidies are Siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2005-2035, December.
    4. Alstadsí¦ter, Annette & Kolm, Ann-Sofie & Larsen, Birthe, 2008. "Money or joy: The choice of educational type," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 107-122, March.
    5. Annette Alstadsæter & Ann-Sofie Kolm & Birthe Larsen, 2005. "Tax Effects, Search Unemployment, and the Choice of Educational Type," CESifo Working Paper Series 1622, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Elmendorf, Douglas W & Kimball, Miles S, 2000. "Taxation of Labor Income and the Demand for Risky Assets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 801-833, August.
    7. Lin, Shuanglin, 1999. "Tax reform and external balance," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 891-909, December.
    8. Nielsen, Soren Bo & Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1997. "On the optimality of the Nordic system of dual income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 311-329, February.
    9. Zodrow, George R. & Diamond, John W., 2013. "Dynamic Overlapping Generations Computable General Equilibrium Models and the Analysis of Tax Policy: The Diamond–Zodrow Model," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    10. Geir Haakon Bjertnæs, 2001. "Optimal Combinations of Income Tax and Subsidies for Education," Discussion Papers 313, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    11. Poterba, James M, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 325-330, May.
    12. McGrattan, Ellen R., 1994. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 573-601, June.
    13. Alstadsæter, Annette & Kolm, Ann-Sofie & Larsen, Birthe, 2005. "Tax Effects of Unemployment and the Choice of Educational Type," Research Papers in Economics 2005:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    14. George R. Zodrow, 2007. "Should Capital Income be Subject to Consumption-Based Taxation?," Working Papers 0715, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    15. Lance Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2002. "Human Capital Formation with Endogenous Credit Constraints," NBER Working Papers 8815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Alstadsæter, Annette & Kolm, Anne-Sofie & Larsen, Birthe, 2005. "Money or Joy," Working Papers 23-2005, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
    17. Hisham S. El-Osta, 2010. "Inequality decomposition of farm family living expenditures and the role of the life cycle," Agricultural Finance Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 70(2), pages 245-266, August.

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